Mexican teenager Esteban Gutierrez has been confirmed as Sauber test and reserve driver for 2011, inevitably increasingly speculation that his main backer Telmex will join forces with the Swiss team.
Gutierrez, who only turned 19 in August, had a chance to test a BMW Sauber last December as a prize for winning the Formula BMW Europe title. He has been affiliated with the team this year in an informal junior role. He will get his first mileage in his new job at the Abu Dhabi young driver tests after the season finale.
Gutierrez won the GP3 title this year with the ART team. He told this blog at Monza that he was in no hurry to get an F1 race seat as “I want to arrive prepared.”
Peter Sauber said: “Esteban is extremely mature for his age, and it has been a great pleasure to have him with us a great deal of the time this year as an affiliated driver. The team was rooting for him during his intelligent fighting performances in the GP3 Series. We are confident he will continue to develop strongly. With his modest manner and keen desire to learn, he has also made himself very popular among the team.”
Meanwhile Gutierrez says he learned from being close to the team this year: “That way I learnt a great deal about the professionalism and practical procedures in the Formula One team. Plus, in early September I had an opportunity to attend the team’s fitness camp with the two team drivers. Formula One is my ambition, and I’m really grateful to Peter Sauber for his confidence in me and my ability.”